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Out of the territory east of the Penobwot and south of the St. 
Lawrence were carved the three Maritime Provinces of Nova 
Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. The French 
called the district Acadie, and the Scottish King of England, in 
his grant to Sir William Alexander in t62i. Nova Scotia. The 
Isle of St. Jean (now Prince Edward Island) was granted a 
separate government in 1769, but was not renamed until 1799 
after the visit of Prince Edward. The Loyalists on the river 
St. John, exasperated by delays in the issue of land p.ients and 
by apparent neglect, demanded and got separation from Nova 
Scotia in 1784 and in the name of the new province the House 
of Brunswick was honoured.' In 1784 the island of Cape Breton 
v.ias granted a separate government, but was reannexed to Nova 
Scotia in 1820. 

To-day these provinces contain less than 1,000,000 people, 
about one-fourth of whom live in " cities" and " towns." Nova 
Scotia has two cities, thirty-two incorporated towns and twenty 
rural municipalities; New Brunswick three cities, about twenty 
incorporated towns, and fifteen counties; and Prince Edward 
Island, one city and one town. The largest " cities," Halifax and 
St. John, have each a population of less than 50,000. The fol- 
lowing table, compiled from the census returns, shows that the 
percentage living in towns and cities is smaller than in Ontario 
or Quebec : 

Total and Urban Population' 

Torn. Urban. 'mlSV 

1891 1901 1891 1901 1891 1901 

P. E. liUnd 09,071 103,359 14,185 14,955 13. 14.4 

New Bruntwick.. 331,363 33l,l3o 48,901 77,385 15.3 33.3 

(19.9) (>o.l) 

NovaScotia 450*39* 459,574 r'.993 139,383 '7' 38.1 

(34- ) 

8whec 1,488,535 1.648,898 499.715 656,331 33.5 39.8 

nurio 3,114,331 3,183,947 818,99° 935,978 38.7 41-7 

' The nsDie of New treluid wu proposed Kt different timet for each of theee new 
provincet. The Legii]«lare of Prince Edward in 1780 adopted the name, but the 
Sovereign diiapprovM. Later it was proposed for New Brunswicit (N.B. Historical 
Collectioiu Na 6, p. 441), but again prejudice prevailed over the passion for symmetry. 

* In the ceiuas of 1891, the population of certain towns in N.B. and N.S. wal 
returned as part of their parishes or districts and therefore as rural. For purpoaea of 



?ij^(}cic)?6 y?^o 

30 Murray: Local Government in Maritime Provinces 

The political and municipal history of these provinces naturally 
synchronize. In their political history the outstanding events 
are (i) the settlement by the French, {2) the struffglc between 
the French and English from the capture of Port Royal in 1710 
to the second capture of Louisbourg in 1758. (3) the struggle 
for responsible government, and (4) confetl* ration. 

Under the French, feudal ideas dominated local adminlstra* 
tion. During the uncertain tenure of the British from 1710 to 
1758 French deputies and English justices of the peace mediated 
between the governors and the governed. Wolfe's victories were 
followed by the authoritative administration of the justices of 
the peace in general sessions. Th >ugh of the people, these jus- 
tices were not chosen by the people. St. John secured the right 
to govern itself through its chosen representatives as early as 
1785. But no other community secured similar rights until Howe 
had won his famous victory over the Halifax Court of Sessions 
in 1835. A series of Acts cf incorporation followed, beginning 
with Halifax, N.S>., in 1841, Fredericton, N.B., in 1848. and 
Charlottetown, P.E.I., in 1855, culminating in the compulsory 
incorporation of the municipalities of New Brunswick in 877 
and of Nova Scotia in 1879. 

The Settlers 

To the character and traditions of the early settlers must be 
traced the nature of the struggle for self-government and the 
character of the institutions. At the outset physical features 
naturally determine the localities of settlement. The sheltered 
slip between the mainland and the peninsula offered the best 
haven. Here the French entered and settled at Port Royal and 
on the St. Croix. Later they spread to Cape Breton fortifying 
Louisbourg. Along the shores, in the bays and up the creeks 

eompArivin the population of iheu t'""nii hu been deducted from the return! for 1901. 
The npid growth in N.S. ii due Ur){ely to the development in Sydney, and in tbt 
mining cenlreaof Cape Breton and Pictou. It it pouibte that the towni of Portland and 
Carleton, N.B., now part of St. John City, were in 1891 included in the return for the 
patiiji and therefore . ie ninU popolaiion. There leenii to be no othrt cxplftnalion of 
(he increMe of over 16.5^0 in the urban population of St. John Countv while (I e lot*) 
increaae wu but 2,185. * '^^ population of thew lowni ahould have been returi.ed ■• 
urban in 1891. With thi* correction the percentage rorti89i become* 19.9 for N B. 
Making the corrections mentioned for both provinres the percentages for the three 
maritime provinces combined become 17.6 for 1891 and ai.j for i90i~Bn increue of 
3.9, as compared with 4 for Ontario, 6.3 for Quebec, or 6.9 for Nova Scotia. 


Murray : Local Govcrnment in Maritime Provinces 31 

and rivers of the eastern coast o{ these provinces the tide of 
population moved, at first impelled liy the love of adventure and 
the prospects of huntinff, later by political necessities. 

The second inflow of settlers ca:-..e from New Englan 1 in 
search of cod and commerce. Convenient stations they f'nind m 
the harlxnirs of Cf'"«cto and Canso and in those ol the Hay of 
Fundy. I-ater '.n. t. e ai 'ivil of Cornwallis and the prospects of 
trade attracted large numbers to Halifax. .\nd in 1759 the pro- 
clamati<m of (ifM-ernor I.awrrnce bnniKht from Massachusetts 
and Rhode Islanil an excellent hand of settlers to take up the 
fertile lands from which the .\cadi-ins lad been driven. 

The fear of h'rench ajjpressirn im >elled New h'npland ti^ 
attack and capture Louisbouru in 1745. Wlri Britain returned 
it to France in 1748, there was Ivut one thing to do — to build a 
stronger fortress between the French in Cape Breton and the 
people of New EuRland. Accordingly Lord Cornwallis was sent 
out to Nova Scotia to establish a fortress and a colony. In 1749 
he landed in Halifax with a following of 1,176 settlers and their 
(imilies. Here he built fortifications and from here he ruled 
tVe province. 

From the first it was recognized that a garrison without a 
colony could not hold the French in check. Inducements were 
accordingly offered to immigrants from Kngland. Germany, Scot- 
land and New England. The colonists, particularly thos; from 
New England, soon clashed with the garrlion. When political 
necessities made the colonist almost indispensable, as was the 
case after the expulsion of the Acadians, liberal promises of land 
»;.■; of self-governme.'t were made. But with the coming of 
security from the enemy, the merchants and farmers found the 
rule of the Governor-in-Council at Halifax irksome. 

The relation of Halifax to the province, it may iw remarked, 
has always been peculiar. .\t the first it was a garrison in a 
hostile colony. later when the New Englanders Iwgan to settle 
in the west and the Scotsmen in the east. Halifax remained a 
military station and a tradinr-post. In war times its garrison 
made it a safe harbour for captured vessels and a profitable place 
for the sale of supplies. In limcs of peace, apart from fishing, 
trade languished. Before the opening of the railways the posi- 
tion of Halif.- lended to isolate it from the rest of the province. 


31 MUK.AV Local (;ovknm«.;t in MA..Tm. P.ovincei 

Situalcl „, a bny al,„u. the „,i.|,ll. „f th« Atlanlic ieaV«rH-,.c fr„„ „,c .,1,1 caimal. Anna,„,Ii,, in ,1,, "" " 2ur'L 

val tyj to the north by a rough ri.lgc of granite boiilderi 
and a number of ,mall lake, and ^d. Ha, 

I»ople. I he con«rvat,.s>„ „f the old «orld settled „,K.n it, mili- 
tary Kovernment an.l lon^ re,i,te,l the reform, of the new The 

the victory more fragmentary in Halifax than el««here St 
John „ a ,tr,k,ng contrast. Sit„ate,l at the mouth of a magnff^: 
cent nver which drain, three-fifth, o( the province and with t, 

thl.h';h '"" :"'"'■"'" '""^'■'" "» "Rivalled wa'rway 
through he length and much of the breadth of the country St 

and through ,t, commercial interest, keep in the closest touch 
w..h It, agricultural and industrial life. Although Kreder on 
was the political capital. St. John from the first dominate the 
province and its reform, became those of the province 
The s^ntT^" '*""'»"°" P™f""nJly afTectJd Nova Scotia. 

element frl V ""V "'i"* T"^ '^' commercial and colonizing 
P^nt of a legislative assembly and some minor reforms. The 
reforming party, however, suffered severely when the Revolu- 
tion broke out by the departure from Nova Sco.ia of1ev° al 
of the mo,t ardent friend, of reform and by the su»ic'on o 
disloyalty which fastened upon those who I Z M it 

^.^M"". "^i' "" ""™' "' ">• Loyalists immediately broueh! 
about the division of Nova Scotia into two provinces andTcS 

strengthened the conservative force, already at work, 
ti Jh I," u """"grants who came out to New Brunswick in 
™ber 'hips between .783 and ,8,2 to the centres of the tabir 
industry on the Miramichi. the Restigouche, and the Richib^«o 
on the east coast, and the St. John and St. Croix rivers on the 
southern coast, found an established system of government whch 

nrlhTJ"^'"'' """ "'"^'' ""^ '" K'™"' ^M The 
mrush of Irish immigrant, between .8.2 and 1850 spread prin! 


Mu««AY : Local Govunuint in MAdTiiti P»ovincm 'j 

«*P«lly lo Ui« .own. and morr populmi. part..' Ul.tcmwn 

rict an.1 Ci ■ I(r«„„ while York.l.irmitn t.«k up il • fertilt 
lam.* ,,„ .i,l«. ,„ ,(„ jMhmi,!. „f thiRnreto. The lir.t were 

usually on the of reform and -o were the lowland Scoti 

Ihe other, were of a more conwrvai./e turn. 

J Ideas 

mn^f-'"', i''"" i"'l'"'-'«l >'- '""nee pLiye.! little part in the 
muHKipal life of .Vo-a Sc„tia. The con,promi« of .iTputie, for 
H « l-rench .-.,1,1 ju.tice. of the peace for the English during the 
per, Kl of ,l,s|,„,e,l n,le ,een,s ... have left no ,*rcei).iMe trace in 
the form, of l«, T"vemment. The formative ideas were those 
brought over b; ornwallis and those introduced by the Xew 
Eng^ander. and. in the case of New Brunswick, by the Loyalist. 
Tho,e of Cmwalhs and the Loyalists had a rommon origin. 
Ihe practices of the Loyalist, had biU .ulTered a .sea-change 
They grew out of the adaptation of Enghsh ide.s and practice. 
to the problems of governmen in the southern colonie. of 
America. Virgm.a an.l New Yo As for the New Enpiander. 
*ey advocated the principles . the chartered government of 
M««chu,. , Bay.' In each of the ?ype^-th. Virginian and 
MaMachnsetts-the powers granted to the governing tody of the 
colony -ame direct from the Crown and not from '•e Parliament 
at We«minster; and in each case these powers • granted lo 

dlTOti'^cm"'^"'' *'"'''' '"'' "" '*'" '° *' •• '" '"'»'- 
_a-he. fortunes oi the two companies, however, were diflferent. 
The Massachusetts Company migrated to the new land. The 
elettion of the assistants tp the Governor by the freemen of the 
company became the election of repriiientothres for the govem- 
nKtrtof the community. The interest, of company and colony 
inerged. The Virginian Council ruled from' London through 

t.^.'Sm,"^?*'' «'*"*^-" '* AW *-«** (R.,^ s,Ki.., =rc««u. 

34 MUMAY: Local Governiiekt in Mautiue Pbovimcbs 

local councils. The interests of the council and the colonist* 
diverged; which state of affairs led the Crown to intervene and 
take over the council's rights. The Crown governed through a 
deputy or governor wHd called to his assistance a small number 
of men as councillors but theoretically did not necessarily follow 
their advice m all things. Together they made and administered 
taws and also acted as a court of justice. This was the system 
Comwall.s introduced into Nova Scotia. But the fishermen and 
the traders from Cape Cod who preceded Comwallis, and the 
settlers from Massachusetts and Rhode Island who accepted 
Lawrence s invitation to occupy the lands vacated by the Acadians 
were strongly imbued with the ideas of Massachusetts They 
became the advocates of self-government. 

The Loyalists of New Brunswick seem to have kept before 
them the provinrial system of New York. Their first Governor 
Thomas Carleton, was the brother of Sir Guy, for a time Com- 
mander of the British forces in New York; and their first Pro- 
vincial Secretary, Rev. Jonathan Odell, was a New Yorker and 
former private secretary of Sir Guy. The fidelity with which 
■New York was imitated is seen in the resemblance between the 
city charters of New York and St. John, and between the charters 
of the College of New York and the College of New Brunswick 
In a letter to the Secretary of State Governor Carleton makes 
special reference to New York.' The prominence of New Eng- 
landers in Nova Scotia and the predominance of the Loyalists in 
New Brunswick will perhaps account for certain differences in 
the two provinces. 

The Loyalists landed at Parrtown in 1783; New Brunswick 
was separated from Nova Scotia in 1784; St. John was granted 
a charter in 1785 ; and a representative Assembly was summoned 
in 1786 to be elected on practically a manhood suffrage Com- 
wallis landed at Halifax in 1749. With great reluctance Uw- 
rence summoned an Assembly in 1758, and Halifax, though 
petitioning m 1765 and 1790, was denied a charter until 1841 
Apparently New Brunswick was dominated by the most demo- 
cratic ideas and Nova Scotia by the reverse; and yet Governor 
Carleton claimed that " New Brunswick had improved upon the 
constitution of Nova Scot ia where everything originated, accord- 

' C«ii. Aichivcs, 1895, N.B. Sute P>pen, p. 4. ' 


Murray: Local Government in Maritime Prcvinces 35 

ing to a custom of New England, with the Assembly. But here, 
where a great proportion of the people have emigrated from 
New York and the provinces to the southward, it was thought 
most prudent to take an early advantage of their better habits 
and by strengthening the executive powers of the Government 
discountenance its leaning so much on the popular part of the 

It is possible that Governor Carleton thought that the Loyalists 
could be trusted to govern themselves, and since they outnum- 
bered all others ten to one. there was little danger of their liberty 
becoming license. He accordingly granted a charter tn St. John 
but reserved to the Crown the right of appointing the chief execu- 
tive officers, the mayor, sheriff, recorder and clerk. " He was," 
however, " rapped over the knuckles '' for it by the Secretary of 

Things were different in Nova Scotia. The ruling class was 
in a minority. Governor Lawrence wrote of the members elected 
to the first Assembly in 1758 that " he hopes he shall not find in 
any of the representatives a disposition to embarrass or obstruct 
his Majesty's service or to dispute the Royal prerogative," 
though " t^o "-.-'.ny n! \h-:e clM«cn rrc such as have not been the 
mo^l :x;n:l, ! -': }-rm.thg i;!i:ty or i b;iio':oc ; ■ TT. M. gov- 
cnirecn; !erc, • ■:■ i-rU;: ;!; :t l-vo ;l:o hi",-: ■u■\^v:^ iiluc::ii;cnts 
to the provinces."' Yet in Nova Scotii greater opporf-inity ^^■as 
given to the people to express their opinion^ il.i-ji^j" -'" -"ni 
juries. The township and county officials were all appointed by 
the sessions from the nominees of the grand juries. The grand 
juries could by presentm.ents censure public officials and ask for 
public work,5. In certain cases the justices of the sessions could 
not act except upon the presentment of the grand jury. Further 
town meetings were regularly held until 1879, though for a time 
after 1770, when suspicion was rife, they were suppressed.' These 
and similar provisions are rot found in New Brunswick. In only 
two .Acts (and those were in the first ten years) was the grand 
jury required to make a presentment before the Court could act. 
One had regard to the altering of a road, the other to the preven- 

' N.B. Hist. Collections, No. 6, p. 450. 

" .Murdoch, Hiitory of tt'tnia Siolia, 11. 353. 

• Ibid. II. 493. 


36 Murray: Local Government in Maritime Provinces 

tion of thistles. The privilege of nominating officials seems not 
to have been enjoyed by the grand juries of New Brunswick. 

French and English 

Feudalism in Acadia, as in old Canada, was a mild copy of that 
of old France. The Governor was all-powerful and the seigniors 
were feeble and few. Governor Philipps, writing to the Duke of 
Newcastle in 1730, said, " Here are three or four insignificant 
families who pretend to the right of seigniories, that extend 
almost over all the inhabited parts of the Country.'" In 1703 
the King of France confirmed grants of seigniories at Cape 
Sable, Port Royal and Mines.' Mention is also made of 
seigniories at Cobequid and Chignecto. The rights of the 
seigniors in Nova Scotia became little more than claims for rents 
which, under English rule, were transferred to the Crown. 

From the capture of Port Royal in 1710 the mainland of Nova 
Scotia was subject to the English. Protests and resistance on the 
part of the French, however, made government extremely difficult 
and finally led to the expulsion of the Acadians. Finally the 
second capture of Louisbourg in 1758 left the English the undis- 
puted masters of the peninsula and the island. Prior to the found- 
ing of Halifax in 1749 there were two British garrisons — one to 
overawe the Acadians around Annapolis and the other at Canso 
to protect the New England fishermen. The seat of the govern- 
ment was at Annapolis, near the French settlements at old Port 
Royal (now Annapolis), Cobe(|uid and Chignecto. The Gover- 
nor's task was by no means an easy one. The willingness of the 
Acadians to comply with his demands varied inversely with their 
distance from the cannon of the fort, and the collection of rents 
and the settlement of disputes about land were the causes of 
perennial trouble. 

The French were governed through elected deputies. Each 
community was required once a year, early in October, tD select 
a number of deputies from the " ancientest and most consider- 
able in lands and possessions." The community about Annapolis 
was required to select twelve, the other communities at least four 

> Murdoch, op. cil.. Vol. I., p. 462. 
• N.S. Archives, Vol. II. (Edited by MacMe-:han). 

Murray: Local Government in Maritime Provinces 37 

or five each. If the business on hand was very important a large 
number might be demanded. The Governor might refuse to 
accept ihe deputies, if they were not of the oldest and richest in 
the community.' After receiving the Governor's instructions the 
deputies were required both to publish them and to assist in carry- 
ing them out. Mascarene summed up their duties as follows : 

1. Deputies having fi.ted times for meeting and consultation 
should act together in the execution of the orders, etc.. of the 
Government in the interests of justice and of the good of the com- 

2. They should " in their meetings make joint reply to the 
letters of the Government addressed to them in common and pro- 
pose measures for the common good." 

3. They should watch and keep in hand restless spirits who 
could turn the habitans from their duty and lead them contrary 
to their oath of allegiance. They were expected to restrain the 

4. They were to enforce the regulations for keeping up the 
fences and to prevent the trespass of unruly cattle. 

5. They were to concert measures for the improvement and 
upkeep of bridges and highways. They were to assign to each 
habitant what according to custom he must contribute in material, 
labour, carriage or payment. 

6. They were to keep an account of the mills, those erected by 
the seigniors and those erected " without leave since the King has 
been in possession of the seigniory." and the dues that should be 
paid so that " the King may get his rights." 

7. They were to arbitrate in land disputes, but appeal to the 
Governor-in-Council was permitted. They were to redress 
wrong and recover stolen property.^ 

In short the deputies were practically mediators, with little real 
power but great opportunity to facilitate or clog the work of 

In only one instance is there evidence of the appointment of an 
Acadian to be a justice of the peace." Prudent Robicheau was 
the honoured name. A Prudent Robicheau, once before, had been 

' N.S. Archives II. 89, 66, 74. 
^ Ibid. II. 241 It paisim, 
'Ibid. 172. 


38 Murray: Local Government in Maritime Provinces 

rejected by tlie Governor as a deputy because of lack either of 
ancientness or possessions.' 

The independent fishermen of Canso were not disposed to brool< 
much interference from the Governor Their local affairs were 
managed by justices of the peace (and it is worth noting) " with 
a committee of the people of Canso." These justices seem at 
least to have been acceptable to the people. On one occasion the 
Governor sent three commissions for justices of the peace in 
blank, which the other justices and probably the committee were 
to fill in.* On another occasion there was a vigorous protest 
against Captain Aldridge. who seems to have been anxious to 
introduce something not far remote from military rule.* The 
Governor reproved him. 

The system of deputiu (or rather hostages) for the French 
and justices of the peace for the English was a rather happy 
compromise. It was lacking in power to coerce, but it provided 
good machinery for informing the people of the Governor's 
instructions and the Governor of the people's wants. 

Goventmcnt by Courts of Sessions 

In 1749 Governor Cornwallis in accordance with his instruc- 
tions erected three courts of justice, " The first was a Court of 
General Sessions similar in its nature and conformable in its 
practice to the Courts of the same name in England." "The 
second was a County Court having jurisdiction over the whole 
province (then a single county) and held by those persons who 
were in the Commission of the Peace at Halifax."' " The third 
was a General Court. This was a Court of Assize and general 
jail delivery in which the Governor and Council, for the time 
being, sat as judges."' In 1754 a Supreme Court with a chief 
justice specially appointed for judicial work took the place of 
the General Court. 

These three courts were primarily courts of law, and yet one, 

' N.,S. Archive II. 59. 

•Ibid. 121. 

• Ibid. 89. 

•In 17^2 the County Court was abolished and Courts of Common Pleas rcotnmonly 
called " The Inferior Courts") were erected in its :r , These Courts were trans- 
formed in 1824 by the appointment of competent liarristers as first justices, 

^ Hahburton, ^^»va Scolia, I. 163, 164. 


Murray: Local GtovERNMENT in Maritime Provinces 39 

the Court of Sessions, discharged important administrative 
functions, and another, the highest, was primarily not a court 
of law but an administrative tody. To understand the Court 
of Sessions and its diverse duties one should turn to its history 
in England. 

Unusual as is to-day the merging of judicial and administra- 
tive functions, it was not novel to Nova Scotians one hundred 
and fifty years ago. When Halifax was founded, the Governor- 
in-Council was a legislative, administrative and judicial body 
in one. Although it was relieved of its judicial functions in 
1754 the chief justice still remained a member of the Council, 
became a governor, and exercised administrative powers until 
driven out of the Council in 1838 by Howe. The Council 
claimed the sole ri^it to legislate until the chief justice ques- 
tioned the legality of its .iKcts and caused the Secretary of State 
to direct the Governor to summon an Assembly. Still the Coun- 
cil continued to discharge executive and legislative duties until 
separation was forced in 1838. And it was not imtil 1848 that 
Howe completed his great task and made the Executive Council 
dependent upon the will of the majority of the .Assembly. 

In the uurts of general sessions, it may be explained, the 
sheriff as appointee of the Crown was the executive officer ; the 
justices were the guardians of the peace, also appointed by the 
Crown; and the grand jury was the people speaking through a 
select few. From the earliest times these courts were adminis- 
trative as well as judicial bodies. Obviously the transition is 
easy from inquiries into how the King's peace was observed to 
inquiries as to measures to secure its better observance, e.g.. the 
establishment of court-houses, jails, etc., bridges for the 
improvement of the King's highway and the like. 

In 1749 Comwallis appointed four justices of the peace for 
Halifax. In addition to these there were those who by virtue 
of their office were conservators of the peace. At one time the 
captains of the ships in the harbour were justices of the peace 
for Halifax. Ordinarily tliose justices were appointed by special 
mandate of the Governor. According to English practice they 
must be residents of the county. Their number seems to have 
been unlimited, and they held office during the pleasure of the 
.Crown, In the days of Howe's battles the larger counties had 


40 MuR«Av: Local Government ,n Pkov.nces 

Tlie Kraiitl juries were composed „f residents nf ■,, l.,=. .1 
months' standing having freiltold in th t™,; o h '1? 
yearly value of f,o or personahy of '.^ The'heriff 
requ,red each year to prepare a li^ of t , qtl ifie ,0 se^ 
T e,r natnes were to be written on sintilar. piec s o p pe nd 
put m a l«x. At a stated time the names of those t , be sum 
moned to serve were to be .Irawn from the box, T! me "d 
prevented ,ury-packing, and if it did not secure for 1 e neonle 
he ^okesmen whom they mi^h. have chosen it prev^ te' the 

to ?,',s'Tk"^ '™' ■'''''"'"'"'' ^y "'^ '^'•"»" ^'-x^h year. Previous 

Novfs'c ir Th:r;af:erTre,r;"""' '™ '^^ p™^-^"" "^ 

:-.y «i.b the us^it^e^ jr i^h , IXd' ^ S 

whth' °' 'r "'"'"'"^ '"'''« ^^'«'«' thref names one o 
wh ch was the ret.rmg sheriff (unless a majority of the jusHces 
of the peace protested) and the Governor-in-Coi-i. must s " 
one of these as sheriff for the year.' In New Brunsw ck t^^e 

restttions.'"^ ""' ''"" '° '"'' "-" '^'^^'^ ^^"' "'"h 

Local Divisions 

rJr^r> '' '"'"'!'^"^}^'. diversity in the three provinces with 
respect to mumc.pal divisions. In all three the county divisions 
are the mo«t important. New Brunswick was divided imo 

bv letTe;,'"' "!' ";T'" ""' "^"'"^ -'o P-i het first 
wL /v, f '™\^"<' '»"•• by Act of Parliament I„ Nova 
Scot>a_the_townsh>ps and settlements were the first to appear 

' N.S. Laws, 1795. 


Murray: Local Government in Maritime Provinces 4, 

No'vi^'scotia lu" "'""' "'"f ""= ~""''" -"' constructed, 
wova S>cot a also recognized other units such as " Divi 

royalties and coininlra.tache^l ■ ' ' """ '™"^ *'"' 

■.im,rf ■^'l''''-7'^''' ■' '^'^■'''°" " '" Nova Scotia was merelv a 
The 1 ^Tl "' ^""""'^ "^"^ reconstructed TTsL 


■' n Hahfn"" ''• /■^•■>.' ~"'' "' «™^"' «"''°- °f 'he peace.' 
In Halfax coi.nty there are three districts-Halifax pro- 
per Colchester, Pictou. each of which has every arrangement 
for the administration of justice, the registry of deed, er a 

f It were a separate county wanting onl/the name an I a county 

repesentative m the Assembly. Each district," says S 

button -IS or shoul.l be furnished with i, court house btiMhe 

uit/w-trtref ?""'-:; J"''' ^'■"■'^•^ authority r^ommn? 
surate with the county and the commissions of the peace extend 
throughout the same. The localities of the juries S in rTai 
and personal have also a reference to the coJnty and the e « 
t.on of representatives is in no way affected by this tol 
arrangemem of districts."" ^ 

o'ls. Kings an<f Cumberland, and tr fivr townro n.^^" "^ A""«P- 

' Ilaliburton, ofi. «/., u. g. 

1 w""''^^' ^^''""' "f^-^- ^iK-J. Vol. in 

43 Mi;»«AY: Local Governuent in Makitihe PxoviHCEa 

•' Tht settled parta of the province," wrote Murdoch in 1833, 
"and those where settlements are attempted have been further 
divided into Townships, some as large as the smaller counties 
and many more of smaller dimensions, and it is probable that this 
mode of cUviiiun will be extended over the whole surface of the 
country as it is a favourite manner of allotment in North 
America, and it is very useful as a guide to the arrangement 
of the representation, the local assessment and a variety of other 
purposes,"' Haliburton stated in 1829 that a "township con- 
tains no certain definite quantity of lands nor assumes any pre- 
scribed shape as in Upper Canada where it is generally under- 
stood to extend nine miles in front and twelve miles in the rear ; 
nor is it endowed with all those various corporate powers which 
the townships of Xew England possess, beyond the election of 
a r'^resentative; which privilege is not enjoyed by all. The 
inhabitants have no other power than holding an annual meet- 
ing for the purpose of voting money for the supp'.r! of their 
poor.'" Governor Lawrence in his proclamation of 1758 
declared that " townships are to consist of acres." This 
seems to have been the usual size for those in the valley and on 
the Atlantic coast.' On the other hand, the three townships of 
Pictou county contain over 200,000 .-icres each. Governor I-aw- 
rcnce also declared that every township containing fifty families 
■would be entitled to send one representative to the Assembly. 
-M the first Assembly it was proposed to restrict the qualifica- 
tion to twenty-five voters, but the Home Government insisted 
on fifty.* Since Lawrence's proclamation was addressed to 
New Englanders it is probable that their views about townships 

ftnd Dijiby j Shclbume into Shclburn,! nnd Yarmouth; Cafw Breton into NoTlhern, 
Southern and W>*i«rn, all of which have since been convened into counties. But 
other districts have been inutle— Barrington in Shelbilrne (1846), Antyle in Yarmouth 
(1856). Clare in IJigby (1847), St. Mary's in f",uysljorough (1840), Chester in Lunen- 
burg (1863), an'l Kast and We^t Hants ;i86t). These districts are now separate 
municipalities. Their separation, due in pan to distance, may also be traced to 
diRerence in the oripn of the inhabitants. Argyle and Clare are French, Rarrington 
and Shclburne represent pre.loyalists and loyalists; Chester and Lunenburg, New 
Eni;Ianders and Germans ; Guy.sborough and St. M.iry's, New Englanders and scotch, 
t Murdoch, Epilomt L 29. 

^ Haliburton, Nova Scotia, W. 9^ 

' Chester, for example. 

* Hordoch, History, II. 334. 


MuKRAy: Local Government in Maritihe Provinces 43 

were adopted.' In iSag the province contained 10 counties (5 
counties being subdivided into 13 districts) and 50 townships. 

Murdoch's expectation -hat the " townships " division would 
extend over the whole piovince has not been realized. To-day 
they are important only as marks of land grants. The decline 
uf the "township" began with the Electoral Act of 1847. 
P-.evions to this, simultaneous elections had been impossible 
because of the difficulty of polling the entire vote of a township 
or settlement in one day. To meet this difficulty the counties 
were divided into electoral districts or polling sections. Where 
townships existed this Act respected their boundaries in the set- 
tmg off of the electoral districts. When no townships were 
recognized the electoral district provided a useful unit. In time 
the polling section became the constituency of a county coun- 
cillor, and a poor division. In 1843 and 1844 two large and 
unwieldy townships in Pictou county -vere subdivided for • oor 
purposes. In 1855 an Act provided f-vr the incorporation of 
townships. No advantage was taken of its permission. When 
the right of sending a representative to the Assembly was tiken 
from the townships in 1857 or i8cS the township lr-,t the last 
shred of political importance. Henceforth it was but a name 
known to those who were interested in land titles. 

Nnv Bninmick. — Before New Brunswick was erected into a 
separate province the coimty of Sunbury and the township of 
Sackville were granted representation (1767) in the Assembly 
of Nova Scotia. The boundaries of the parishes or tow is of 
what afterwards became the county of Westmorland were 
defined by the boundaries of the lands granted by Nova Scotia. 

By letters patent in 1785 Governor Carlefon set off the boun- 
daries of the counties of St. John, Westmorland, Charlotte, 
Northumberland, Kings, Queens, York and Sunbury; and for 
the better administration of justice subdi-ided them into towns 
or pari shes. The Legislature confirmed this division in 1786." 

J Ths townshipi rapidly incrcaanl in number. In 1737 two were recocniied u 
entitled to send repretent^livei to the Assembly— Ilalibx anil Lunenburff. Two 
TMra later Annapolis, Horton, and Cumberland were included. Tlien followed Truro, 
Onslow. Comwallis, Falmouth, Newport. Liverpool and Granville (1765), Yarmouth 
and Sunbury (1767), Londonderry (1770I. Barrinpon (1774), Shelbume(l784), Amheril 
and Windsor (1785), Digbv (1784). There were other townships which were not 
entitled to representation, such as New Dublin (1765), and Chester (1759). 

'In the Consolidated Ststutes of 1903 the boundarie* and dates of the erection of 
the various counties and parishes are given. 


44 MuuAv: LuCAL GovuNMiNT IN Maritime I>H vincm 

The plan was limple. The whole province wai divided into 
eight counties. The Kttled portions were Sunbury on the St. 
John, Westmorland west of Nova Scotia, and St. John, the 
landing-place of the Loyalists (1783). The new counties were 
set ofr and Sunbury was the residue. Some of the boundaries 
were ilefined with reference to townships, e.g., St. John began 
from Ho|)eweIl township. \ ork from .Maugervillc, Queens from 
Burton. The counties again were divided into •' towns or 
parishes." The term "parish" rapidly supplanted that of 
township." The " township" may be traced to Massachusetts, 
the "parish" to New York and Virginia. In England the 
parish was of course originally an tv.clesiastical division, the 
township a civil. 

The blending of the ecclesiastical and the civil appears as late 
as 1790 in New Brunswick. Governor Carleton in n letter 
(dated Aug. 20th '.ytv,) to the Secretary of State says of the 
provision made for education and religion : " There .ire now six 
ministers of the Churci of England, having salaries (nun the 
Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, in addition to £ioc 
allotted to each by an annual grant of Parliament, the glebe 
lands still being unproductive. The province has been divided 
into eight counties with thirty-nine parishes, all of which, how- 
ever, do not renuire a permanent minister at present."' 

It is worth loting that in New Brunswick the county is sub- 
divided, and that in Nova Scotia the county is apjiarently a 
group of ;-)wnships or settlements, as M.-. McEvoy states to be 
the case in Ontario.' This difference had important conse- 
quences. It gave the township an independence in the public 
mind not possessed by a mere subdivision of the county (the 
parish). This is seen in the town meetings which were a fea- 
ture of the Nova Scotia townships and electoral divisions down 
to 1879, although temporarily suppressed in 1770, as already 
remarked, through fear of revolution. This feature survived 
in the charters granted to such towns as Dar'mouth (1873), 
Pictou (1873), New Glasgow (1875), which required aii 
annual meeting of the ratepayers to receive the reports of the 

' Can. Archives, igc^ N.B. State Papera. 
' McEtojt, r*< OMarit limit..,; p. ii. 


Mu«.Av: Local G«v.,n„ent in Ma.itimi P.ovinc« 45 

town', official, and to author!.. .xp.nditur„. In ,005 ,„»■ 

incKa« of water .upply and other nutter,. There were Mr "h 
or town meetmg, i„ New Brur ck, ,«r,icularly in the extern 

Scot.a.i example an.l partly to the movement for re=nnn,»,^e 
government «cure.l an Act (in .850, giving Z h« 

e. „ not to have been generally taken advantage of, for pri 
..^n IS made for appointment by the justices should there he 

n^' 'IT"' T\ '" ■'"'■' "" ""'°"''="i»» "' the statutes mak« 
no mention of election. 

»JuZ^"' "■,'" "o" '^' "■" '^' «"•• "•' Pnmary and, a. 
Hal.burton sa.d m .8^, praclicallv the only duty of the p., ish 
or ,own,h,p; yet ,t i, worth notmg that the early school, n 
New Brunswick were parish Khools and that .he trustee, we e 
parish officials. The Superintendent of Education n T^ 
suggested the parish as a suitable unit." 1- i~ . u 

.SliiT ^f ■'""' '''"/"'-T'" I'land wa., dividcl into 67 lots, 
usually containing about 20.000 acres each. These were 
grouped into three ccinui.s and in each county a town site with 
royalty and common wa, laid out for a capital. " The inten- 
tion wa, that the man who held a lot in the town should be 
•flowed a lot m the royalty for pasturing purpo«s. The 
common was situated between the town and the royalty and wa, 
for ^sture purposes in common,"' The counties were sub- 
divided into 14 districts or parishes. The " parish line, .ire hut 
httle recognized." "These local divisions became practically 
useless and are seldom mentioned now except in legal proceed- 
ing, connected with old land titles."' With the exception of 
the capital city, Charlottetown, there is but one other munici- 
pality, the town of Summerside. Local affairs are thu,-<ioubt- 
less on account of the smallness of the island province-in the 
Hands of the provincial Legislature and its local official.. 

• N.B. Education Report, 1904, p. ivi. 

' Crotkill, Pniut EOnord It anj, pp. 16, 1 7. 

' Bouinot, LtctI CmtrnmM, p. (8. 


46 UuuAY: Local Covunmint in Maiitimk Piovincu 

EInloral ami School OivitioHt 

For cicctoni purpoKt county ilivUioni ar« recufpiiitd. For 
the (tderal Parliament each county it entitled to one representa- 
live unless the population be small. Then if two small counties 
be ailjaceni they are combined, e.g., the Queeni-Simbury. Kin({V 
Albert constituencies in New Brunswick, and the QticensShel- 
bume in Nova Scotia. If the county is very large it is given 
two representatives, e.g., Halifax, N.S., St. John, N.B., and 
Queens, I'.K.I., or the county is di ided into two ridings, e.g., 
"ipe Breton, N.S., North and South. For the provincial Astem- 
ulies in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia the county is again 
the unit and the number of represent-itives is adjusted to p'lnila- 
tion. In Prince Edward Island the unit is a district uf a cuunty. 

For rural municipalities in Nova Scotia the unit is the " tlec- 
toral district " determined by the legislation regulating elections 
for the provincial Legislature. The term " electoral district." it 
may be remarke<l, began to displace " township " as early at 
1854. In New Brunswick the parish is the electoral unit. In 
Annapolis, N.S., the term " ward " appears.' It is possible that 
this is a reminiscence of the old town or township divisions. 
Such names as " street " and " square " are still found attached 
to the names of country roads and sections in this part of the 

The livisions for school purposes respect county lines. In 
New Brunswick they ignore the parish, which in early days 
was the unit. In Nova Scotia the unit is called a " section," 
in New Brunswick a " district." The term " district " in Nova 
Scotia !5 applied to the area over which 'he school commis- 
sioners have jurisdiction. These commissioners, mce clothed 
w';h considerable powers, have been reduced to tlo (alas! not 
harmless) work of dividing and subdividing school sections. 
The sc lool section in Nova Scotii or district in New Brunswick 
seems to have been laid out with a due regard to the walking 
powers of a child. Apparently two and a half miles were 
regarded as the utmost which a child could be expected to walk 
to and from school each day. Accordingly school sections or 
districts were usually four or five miles in lengti. In the sixties 

> Calnek and Sftvaiy, Hittory ff Annapttit, p. 316. 

MuMAv: Local Govmnhint in Maritime PioviNcn 47 

and early Mvtnlin, when the tide o( immigration wai flowing 
itronRly into thcM province!, it wai not unreaannable to expect 
that in time ihcM sections would be filled with a large Khool 
population. The westward movement of population, however, 
haa (liiappointed these hopei, and the result! have l>ecn disaa- 
trous to tlie niral schools. There seems to be but the one solu- 
tion of regrouping school sections, either by consolidation of 
Khool equipment anil teaching power or by enlarging the admin- 
istrative areas to perhaps the New Ilrunswick [mrish or Nova 
Scotian district, so that the burden of taxation may he reilucetl 
to a minimum anti equalized. 

ApprtinlmenI of Local ogicials 

Nova Scotia. — In Nova Scotia various mcthcHls of .ippointing 
local officials have been followed at diflcrent times. Ilcfore the 
establishment of courts of sessions the Govemor-in-Council 
t'ared the privilege with the town meeting. Upon the institu- 
tion of the courts the appointment of the great majority of the 
officials was delegated to them, in some cases without restric- 
tion, in others subject to the nomination of the grand juries. 
In a few instances the grand juries appointed, subject to the 
ratification of the justices. Of the five methods : ( i ) the Gov- 
emor-in-Council, (2) popular election, {j,) the court of sessions, 
(4) the sessions upon nomination of the grand iury, (5) the 
grand jury subject to the ratification of the justices, the n^'st 
common was the appointment by the sessions on the nomina:' n 
of the grand jury. The Governor-in-Counci! appo.nted the 
sheriff.,, coroners, justices of the peace, commissioners of 
aewers and dykes, gaugers (from 1761 to 1769), commissioners 
for schools in each coimty and district (from 1828). 

In January, 1751, the Governor-in-Council ordered that the 
" town and suburbs of Halifax be divided into eight wards and 
the inhabitants be empowered annually to choose the following 
officers for managing such prudential affairs of the town as shall 
be committed to their care by thi Govemor-in-Council, viz., 
eight town overseers, one town clerk, sixteen constables, eight 
scavengers.'" In 1763 the town meeting (which was held twice 
a year) chose the assessors of the poor rate. This practice was 

> N.S. Archive! (edited by Akint), I 


48 Murray : Local Government in Maritime Provinces 

also authorized by an Act passed in 1851. The assessors 
appointed the collectors of the poor rate, which, wrote Murdoch 
in 1833. " is the only regular fund managed by the township 
authorities without the intervention of the sessions and grand 
juries of the county."' From 1859 to 1878 the town meeting 
could choose the collectors. 

In 1762 the grand juries in sessions were empowered to 
appoint annually cullers and surveyors of dry fish, Lurveyors 
of lumber, .-nd surveyors of cordwood;' and three years later 
the appointment of the county treasurer, subject to certain 
restrictions, was placed in their hands. The usual method of 
appoir'ment by the sessions required the juries to nominate. 
At f. twice as many candidates as there were offices were to 
be nominated; but later (1811) the number was to be as man; 
as the justices in sessions might direct, ' as the numbers before 
limited by law were found insiiffvlent.'" Apparently the juries 
by nominating impossible cauviidates could force the justices to 
appoint those whom they desired. 

The officials appointed by the justices on the nomination of 
the grand juries, as given by Murdoch' in 1832, with the dates 
of the Acts giving the power were as follows: In 1765 sur- 
veyors of lines and boundaries of townships and overseers of 
the poor ("both offices united in the same persons"), a town 
clerk, constables, surveyors of highways, fence viewers, clerks 
of market, poundkeepers, cullers and surveyors of fish, sur- 
veyors of lumber, sealers of leather, gangers of casks, hogreaves 
(1792), measurers of grain, salt, coals, inspectors of lime and 
bricks, inspectors and repackers of beef (1794), surveyors and 
weighers of bay (1777), inspectors of flour and meal (1796), 
inspectors of red and smoked herrings {1798), inspectors 
and weighers of beef (1829), inspectors of thistles (1791), 
and inspectors of butter in Cumberland county (1802). 
The local trustees of schools were, according to the Act of 1828, 
appointed by the commissioners of schools who were nominees 
of the Govemor-in-Council. 

' Murdoch, EfiUft I. 138. 

■ Ihid. 




Murray : Local Government in MArtiTiUE Provinces 49 

After Howe became prime minister an Act was passed yp- 
1850 dividing Halifax into townsliips, and giving eacli township'- 
the right to elect a warden and four councillors who were to < 
have all the powers " now exercised by the justices of the peace" ; 
and empowering the ratepayers at the annual meeting to elect all 
township officers whether '* now appointed by the sessions, town 
meetings or others as considered necessary." This Act was per- 
missive and seems never to have been put into effect. A similar 
Act (1856), intended for the other counties, was put into effect 
in but one county, Yarmouth, and then only for three years. 

The method of appointment by the justices on nominatio'i by 
the grand juries continued until incorporation was made com- 
pulsory for all counties and districts in 1879. 

Nnv Brtnisicick. — Governor Carleton and the Assembly from 
the first decided to give the people, either directly or indirectly 
through the grand juries, as little power as possible in the 
appointment of local officials. In the draft of the Highways 
Bill submitted to the House in 1786 provision was made for the 
nomination of road surveyors or commissioners of the highways 
by the grand juries. This provision was struck out before the 
bill became law.' New Brunswick was to " improve upon the 
constitution of Nova Scotia." 

The justices of the peace were empowered to appoint, at the 
first sessions of the court each year, " out of every town or 
parish in the said county three overseers of the poor, a clerk of 
the town or parish, a clerk of the market, a sealer of leather, 
three assessors, two or more constables, two or more fence 
viewers, a sufficient number of poundkeepers, cullers and sur- 
veyors of fish, surveyors of lumber and cordwood, gangers of 
casks, hogreaves, surveyors and weighers of hay, surveyors and 
examiners of any staple commodity and (in 1805) parish school 

In addition the Govemor-in-Council appointed a great many 
officials, e.g., commissioners of sewers (1786), supervisors of 
great roads (1822), commissioners for the almshouse in Freder- 
icton (1822) and Northumberland (1828), grammar school 
trustees (1829), firewards in Fredericton (1824), Newcastle 
and Chat ham (1828), St. Stephen (1833), boards of health 

1 MS. Records of the First Auembly in the LegiiUtive Libniy, FredeiietoB. 


so Murray: Local Government in Maritime Provinces 

('833). marine hospital trustees (1822), commissioners to col- 
lect dues for disabled seamen (1826), commissioners tor the 
provmcial House of Correction (1841), also for the asylum 
tor the insane. 

In 1850 the parishes were granted the privilege of electing 
the town or parish officials hitherto appointed by the sessions, 
except the treasurer, auditors, trustees of schools, overseers of 
fisheries, inspectors of fish, wharfingers, port warden, harbour 
master, pilots and firewards, who were to be appointed as before 
by the sessions. In the following year the same privilege was 
granted to parishes organized as municipalities. But failing 
election, appointment was to be made by the sessions or the 
council. When the statutes were consolidaicd in 1854 this pri- 
vilege of election was withdrawn from the parishes. Probably 
little use had been made of it. It is possible that this introduc- 
tion of the township idea was suggested by what Howe had 
done in Nova Scotia. It is well to remember that it was in 1848 
that Nova Scotians gained responsible government. 

Prince Edward Island.— As Bourinot remarks, "no system 
of local government ever existed in the counties and parishes 
as in other parts of America. The Legislature has been always 
a municipal council for the whole island."' In 1833 the repre- 
sentatives of Charlottetown in the Legislature were instructed 
to summon the inhabitants to vote money for local purposes and 
to appoint assessors and collectors. The following year the 
inhabitants of each school district were required to choose five 

The Powers and Municipal Labours of the Sessions 

Nova Scotia. — In the exercise of their administrative func- 
tions the justices of the peace appointed officials, ordered assess- 
ments and controlled expenditures, controlled certain licenses 
such as those for the sale of liquor, and made regulations about 
a variety of subjects. The list of subjects is similar to that 
given below for New Brunswick. In New Brunswick the jus- 
tices in sessions were less restricted in the exercise of their 
powers by the grand juries than were their fellow justices in 
Nova Scotia. 

* Ler^ GwtrnmtHf, p. 69. 


Murray: Local Government in Mariiime Provinces 51 

In 1877 the committee appointed to revise the statutes pre- 
pared a draft summarizing the powers of the courts of sessions.' 
But apparently after the draft had been printed and submitted 
to the Legislature it was decided to make the Municipalities Act 
compulsory and to abolish the courts of session. In that draft 
these courts were (i) given power to appoint and define the 
duties of the parish officials; (2) given charge of jails. Icxkups. 
workhouses or almshouses f unless entrusted to special commis- 
sioners) and village police; (3) required to prevent vice, dis- 
orders and disorderly driving, Sabbath profanation, nuisances, 
noises; (4) required to regulate the sale of liquor, circuses, 
exhibitions; (5) required to make regulations concerning tres- 
pass by ''omestic animals, the marking of cattle, pounds, dog 
tax, desiiuction of mad dogs, noxious weeds, fires, bush burn- 
ing, trucks, depositing of ballast, markets, measuring and inspect- 
ing such commodities as bread, salt, coal, hay, iron, lumber; 
(6) required to have charge of ferries, streets, public wharves, 
bridges, booms, timber driving, commons, marshes, school 
reserves, river banks. At an earlier date they had had charge 
of inland fishing (1799), grazing on the commons (1814), 
parish schools (1823). lunatics (1824), the prevention of infec- 
tious diseases (1799). 

The care of the poor was a parish charge and was in the hands 
of overseers appointed by the sessions. 

The sessions assessed upon the presentment of the grand jury 
of the county setting forth the sums required for (i) 'he 
expenses of criminal justice, such as the building and maii..en- 
ance of county court houses, jails, stocks, pillories, pounds, con- 
veyance and support of prisoners, salaries of clerk of the peace 
and jailor; (2) the support of the or; (3) the building and 
repairing of bridges and other pul works authorized by par- 
liament; (4) the expenses for preventing fires. "The sessions 
apportion the sum presented fixing on each township and settle- 
ment the portion they think it should bear" (1765).' It also 
appointed two collectors and three assessors for each township 
on the nomination of the grand juries (1777). The moneys 

T. C. Allen, Clerk of the PI«u, I was permjlted to 

' Through the courtesy of Mr. 
examine s copv. 

' Murdoch, Epitome I. 135. 


S? Murray: Local Government in Maritime Provinces 

collected were handed to the treasurer, who was chosen by the 
grand jury, and approved by the justices in sessions, to whom 
also the treasurer accounted quarterly (1813). and to whom 
appeals lay from the assessors. 

Other sources of revenue were from rents from public build- 
mgs, fines and forfeitures, license fees from hawkers and 
pedlars (1782) and liquor sellers (1787). The liquor license 
fees were collected by a cl»rk of licenses appointed in Halifax 
by the Governor, clsewliere by the justices of the peace, who 
selected one of three candidates nominated by ti-e grand jury. 
Three-fifths of the license fees (liquor and hawkers) in Halifax 
went to the commissioner of streets; two-fifths to the police 
departmi .t. When money was to be borrowed permission had 
to be received from the Legislature. 

The various officers were accountable to the sessions for the 
moneys entrusted to them. The grand juries had the right to 
inspect the accounts and to make a presentment upon the admin- 
istration of the justices or their officials. The way in which 
the latter discharged their duties in Halifax was exposed in a 
painful manner by Hovve in 1835.' 

New Brunsuvk.—Tht sources of revenue and the administra- 
tion of it were similar to those of Nova Scotia. Apparently 
(though the evidence is not clear) the grand juries in the early 
days were not so influential in New Brunswick as in the sister 
province. In 1833 the justices in session were required to cause 
accounts of public moneys to be laid before the grand jury, and 
the grand jury was empowered to "make such presentment 
thereupon as they see fit." In '850 stress was laid upon the 
recommendation of the grand jury for buildings and contin- 
g:encies as a necessary condition to an assessment by the sis- 
sions. Further, the accounts of the county and parishes were to 
be laid before the grand jury, when the town or parish officers 
were to be appointed. Also at the time of the electic 1 of town 
or parish officers, the overseers of the poor, collectors -^f rates, 
and commissioners of highways were required to lay their 
accounts before the ratepayers for examination. The growing 
infhience of the grand jury and the open examination of accounts 
were due to the demand for representative government. 

• Howe, Sptitket and Ltttiri, 1 

21 tt stq. 

Mukkay: Local Government in Maritime Provinces 53 

It is worthy of note that to-day in Nova Scotia and New 
Brunswick each poor district or parish must bear the cost of the 
maintenance of the poor who have " settlement " within it. 
Every other charge, even the support of tlie insane poor at the 
provincial hospital, is a county charge. The sole exception 
in New Brunswick is the charge of opening up a new road. 


•n '835 Joseph Howe puhlished in the Nova Scolian a num- 
ber of letters attacking the Halifa.x County Sessions, for which 
he was arrested on a charge of criminal libel ; he was, however, 
finally acquitted in triumph in spite of the charge of the judge 
to the contrary. The repeated declarations of successive grand 
juries and the chorus of popular approval that greeted him seem 
to warrant one in believing that Howe's severe arraignment wai 
justified. He charged' them with unfair assessment, mismanage- 
ment of public accounts, " miserable but costly corruptions of 
the Bridewell (Prison) and Poorhouse," inefficient and dilatory 
administration of justice, all of which were supported by quota- 
tions from ;eports of grand juries and of a special committee 
appointed by »he Governor-in-Council. 

In its report published shortly before Howe's trial, the grand 
jury stated that "but £36 of the whole assessment of the year 
had been collected and that from persons much less able to pay 
than many who stand in the list of defaulters." Howe gave 
examples of the effect of the failure of the sessions to collect 
rates in the county outside of the city and from a large num- 
ber of favoured or careless ratepayers. Although the city con- 
tained 14,439 people as compared with 10,437 '" the county, 
from 1825 to 1835 not one shilling had been received from the 
county outside the city. Apart from the large amount of uncol- 
lected taxes, the management of fun'ls collected was careless 
and irregular. Instead of paying into the treasury, collectors of 
taxes were permitted to pay to other persons, who appropriated 
the funds to suit their own convenience, causing much hardship 
to civic officials and creditors. " The credit of the county is 
absolutely so bad that an advance of forty or fifty per cent, is 
required in all purchases made on account." The grand jury 

> Howe, SfittcAtt and Lttlttt, I. 20 « ntq. 


.54 Murray: Local Government IN Maw ■'.Provinces 

returned the county treasurer's accounts as being incomprehen- 
sible, not so much from fault of the treasurer as from the con- 
fused manner in which public accounts were kept. Examples 
of the inefficiency of the police, of the unequal administration 
of justice and of the indifference of the magistrates were cited. 
Although the law required all magistrates to attend general and 
quarter sessions under penalty of removal from office, " from 
the record of five years it appeared that hot more than three jus- 
tices had usually attended the general sessions of the peace in 
Halifax, frequently but two and sometimes only one." The 
grand jury, which in effect was the organ of the people. Howe 
declared had been frustrated in its attempts to detect and remove 
abuses. Sometimes the magistrates refused it access to public 
documents and at other times ignored its recommendations. 
Finally the grand jury refused to assess, and thus brought 
matters to a head. 

It should be said in fairness to other courts of sessions that 
there is little doubt that Halifax stood alone in its bad pre- 
eminence. Yet enough remains to show that the system had 
many serious defects. It was not, however, unacceptable else- 
where. For nearly t' rty years a permissive Act for municipal 
incorporation held open a door of escape for the several counties 
in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. In Nova Scotia one 
county only took advantage of it and that for but a brief period. 

Government by Elective Councils 

Nova Scotia. — Responsible government for the province logi- 
cally implied self-government in the municipalities. In Nova 
"Scotia, since 1763, the township had the right to meet and vote 
money for the fupport of the poor and to elect the assessors 
required to get this money. This right the townships (or settle- 
ments, as they were sometimes called) continued to enjoy until 

It was natural tor Howe to begin at home with his municipal 
reform. Halifax city had been given the right to govern itself 
in 1841. Halifax county, however, was still governed by the 
court of sessions when the victory for responsible government 
brought Howe into power. Whatever the cause, whether it was 
Howe's New England ancestry, or the prominence of the town- 

MuRKAY : Local Government in Maritime Provinces 55 

•hip in western Nova Scotia, or the difficulty of combining the 
very diverse and widely separated sections of Halifax into one 
county, Howe adopted the township as the unit of municipal 
government in the Act of 1850. This Act provided for the 
appointment of commissioners to diiiJc H?' I'ax county into 
townships, each township to elect a warden and four councillors, 
who were to assume all the powers and duties of justices of the 
peace for the county. But little or nothing seems to have 
resulted from this Act. 

In 1855 there was passed an elaborate Act providing machinery 
for municipal government in the four counties of Yarmouth, 
Annapolis, Kings and Queens, the four counties in which New 
England influence was strongest. The following year this restric- 
tion was removed and all other counties and a number of dis- 
tricts, such as the French districts of Clare and Argyle, the 
Scottish St. Mary's and the pre-loyalist Harrington were given 
an opportunity, should they wish to transfer the government 
of the locality from the quarter session to elective councils. 

In the same year another Act providing for the self-govern- 
ment of townships was passed. A reeve and four councillors 
were to be elected by the township, and the reeves in the county 
were to form the county council. The township councils were 
to exercise the power of county councils with reference to roads, 
the poor, prevention of vice and assessment, with the following 
e-xceptions. The expenditure of the government grants for 
roads, the erection of bridges, the control of liquor licenses, 
the regulation of ferries, wharves, markets and fairs were with- 
held from them. The annual town meeting was expressly pro- 
vided for. 

Both the County and the Township Acts were permissive and 
remained in force until the compulsory Act was passed in 1879. 
Yarmouth was the only county to apply for the privileges of the 
Act. But after three years' trial, in 185B, it petitioned for the 
old order of local government ; yet Yarmouth has always been 
noted for its sympathy with New England ideas. 

The towns were more anxious to secure the privilege of self- 
government, more particularly the privilege of assessing for 
local purposes and of borrowing money. Each town sought 
incorporation by a special Act. Pictou and Dartmouth in 1873, 

56 Muuay: Local Govunhint in Maritiui Piiovincu 

Truro and New Glugow in 1875, Windjor in 1878, Parrsboro 
in 1884, Lunenburg, Sydney and North Sydney in 1885, and 
Kentville in 1886 were thus incorporated. The Towns Incor- 
poration Act, which was passed in 1888, was made applicable 
to all the towns then incorporated, the city of Halifax being 
exempt, to which is now added the city of Sydney, C.B. Since 
then minor amendments have been passed, but the principles of 
the Act retnain intact. 

Nnv Brunswick. — Self-government in local affairs came 
earlier to New Brunswick. St. John received a charter in 1785, 
Fredericton in 1848, while in 1850 the town meeting was given 
the power of electing parish officers, and in 1852 a permissive 
Act for elective county councils was passed. In 1877 this per- 
missive Act became compulsory. When Nova Scotia's compul- 
sory Act was passed in 1879 not one county was incorporated 
but in New Brunswick six had already passed out of the control 
of the courts of sessions. In New Brunswick the earliest to 
become incorporated were .rk, m 1857, Carleton, prior to 
1865, and Sunbury, prior to 1870. The Act of 1850 reserved 
for the magistrates the appointment of the treasurer, auditor, 
fishery and harbour officials; but it also required a statement of 
the public accounts to be laid before the grand jury when the 
appointments were to be made. A presentment from a grand 
jury was made a necessary condition of an assessment for public 
buildings and contingencies. 

The towns were naturally more eager for incorporation. 
Fredericton received it in 1848, Woodstock in 1856, Portland 
and St. Stephen in 1871, Moncton and Milltown in 1873, 
Bathurst in 1885. Marysville in 1886, Campbellton in 1888. 
The Towns Incorporation Act was passed in 1890, and under it 
the younger towns have been incorporated, those previously 
incorporated being governed by their charters. Villages may 
also be incorporated for certain purposes. 

Until 1896 thtre had been a steady movement in the province 
towards decentralization, towards greater local control. Since 
then a movement towards centralization has become very evi- 
dent. In 1898 the Govemor-in-Counril received power to 
appoint not only the provincial Ixr.rd of health, but also the 
chairmen of the local boards, and further to levy local assess- 

MuKRAY : Local Government in Maritihe Provinces 57 

mcnts when these boards recommend it. This was clearly dic- 
tated by the desire to secure more efficient and prompt actioi 
when an epidemic is threatened. In 1899 the appointment oi the 
chairmen of the revisers of electoral lists was taken from the 
councils and given to the Govemor-in-Council. The Liquor 
Act of 1900 withdrew from the councils the apr'intment of 
commissioners to issue licenses and of inspectors ;ind placed it 
in the hands of the Govcrnor-in-Council. In 1905 the High- 
ways Act required the municipalities to assess for the roads but 
placed the disposal of that money in the hands of the Governor- 
in-Council, to whom also was given the appointment of super- 
visors of roads. And lastly, the superintendent of education 
recommended a return from the small school districts to the 
parish as the unit. With these measures of centralization goes 
the growing practice of placing special duties, hitherto enjoyed 
by councils, in the hands of appointed commissioners, for 
example, the management of certain almshouses and of town 
and city schools. : 

Whatever be the cause, whether a demand for greater effi- 
ciency, or a desire for greater patronage, or a distrust of elected 
bodies as agencies for executive work, the fact remains that an 
important part of the machinery of government in local affairs 
appears to be passing away from the residents of the locality; 
at the same time one is surprised at the apathy or tacit approval 
which greets the change. We may purchase efficiency or patron- 
age at too great a price. Direct popular government is indeed 
an educational agency that should not be valued lightly. 

Municipal Organisations 

Rural municipalities, towns and cities are incorporated under 
different Acts. The Municipalities Act applies to counties and, 
in the case of Nova Scotia, to districts as well, i.e., to divisions 
(never more than two) of a county. The Towns Incorporation 
Act of Nova Scotia provides for towns whether previously or 
subsequently incoiporated: in New Brtmswick the Towns Incor- 
poration Act applies only to the towns incorporated subsequent 
to the passing of the Act. Each city has a special charter. 

In Nova Scotia six of the eighteen counties are divided into 

$6 Muoay: Local Gove»n>iemt in Mawtimi P»ovmcM 

two district., making altogether twmtyfour rural municipali- 
ties. The« are again divided into polling di.tnct., each of 
which „ entitW according to populati™ ,o\, lea.t ;«Tr^„. 
«ntat,ve in the council. Only in one in.tance ha. a polling 

Iml'L'f """■'',? '*■"' «P«»«""i'"- The qualification, of 
municipal councillor, and of voter, are the .ame a. tho« 
required of member, and voters for the House of AsMmbly, 
except that ,ince ,887 the franchise has been given to unmarried 
women, assessed for $150 realty or $300 personalty. 

vin,- r°"'„ "' '"''' °" "" """ "^y 'hroughout the pro- 
vince. Councillors previously sat for one year; but since 1802 
their term is three years. Like the provincial .Assembly Hie 
council chooses its presiding officer (the warden) at the first 
MSSion after election, grants an indemnity ($2 a day and 5 
cent, a m.le) to its members and an additional sum ($50) to 
the warden. It has power to assess for enumerated purposes 
chief among which are the support of the p„„r, prevention 
of disease, administration of justice, court house and jail, pro- 
tection from hres, bounties for certain wild animals, ferries and 
inarkets, roads and bridges (not exceeding $1,000 unless with 
the approval of the Governor-in-Council). Districts within a 
municipality may petition for the privilege of assessing for 
specified purpose- and be rated accordingly. Loans for current 
purposes are limited to $2,000 subject to the approval of the 
Govemor-in-Council. A contingent fund of $500 is permitted. 
All by-laws are, however, subject to the approval of the Gover- 

The Municipal Act for New Brunswick differs but slightly 
from the Nova Scotia Act. Each parish of a county is entitled 
to two councillors. The Act provides for a one year term of 
office unless the council decides upon biennial elections. In St 
John count" the elections are triennial. The indemnity is larger 
m New Brunswick and the property qualifications are higher. 

The powers are similar; but the approval of the Govemor- 
in-Council is not required for by-laws. All officers are appointed 
by the council for one year except the clerk and treasurer who 
however, are removable by the council. In certain parishes the 
appointment of constable^ is not made in the usual way In the 
parishes of Dorchester, Shediac and Moncton, of the county of 

MunRAv: Local Govkhnment in Maritimi Piovincm 59 

\V«tmorlancl, the l-rench ratqK,ycr» ticct th; « a,Ks.or,. one col- 
«tor and three overseers of the i»«r to ai»c„ an,l collect from 
the French of these parishes the p<«,r rate and to care for the 
rrencn jxKyr. 

,J!," '''"""f f^ofPoMtion Act of ,\ova Scotia tt:.s passed in 
1K88, revise<l in 1895, and emU.died in the cons.,lidation of 
1900. it rc<|Hires a majority vote of the ratepayers of the town 
m favour o mcor|K,ration hefnre such incorporation can be 
granted by ,he (Jovernor-in-Coi„icil. A further condition was 
subsequently added. There must l« at least 700 i«rs„n, dwell- 
inif withui an area of five hundred acres of laud. 

A mayor and six councillors are t.) be chosen at the first 
election by the entire town. The council hris ,K)wcr fo .lividc 
the town uilo wards and assign two councillors to each ward 
these to be elcctol by the ratepayers of the ward. The mayor 
ho.-ls ofiice for one year, the councillors for two years; but one- 
half of the councd retires each year. 

Both mayor and councillor must be British subjects at least 
twenty-one years of age, and ratepayers, the mayor's assessment 
reachmg at least $500 real or Si. 000 personal property. 

The council has power to assess for the poor, schools, streets 
sewers, water, fire, the courts, police, salaries and the county 
fund. But before it can grant a bonus, or make a permanent 
loan, the sanction of the town meeting and the authority of the 
Legislature must be secured, A loan for school buildings need 
not be specially authorized by an Act of the Legislature. 
E.temption from ta.\ation cannot be granted unless sanctioned by 
a special Act of the Legislature. And all the by-laws or ordin- 
ances passed by the town council are subject to the approval of 
the Governor-in-Council. 

The council appoints all officials save the stipendiary magis- 
trate, who is appointed by the Govemor-in-Council. The town 
cleric holds office during goo<l behaviour. The town solicitor 
may be dismissed by a two-thirds vote. But an official who 
holds office during good behaviour may appeal to a judge of the 
County Court or Supreme Court to call upon the mayor and 
town council to show cause for his dismissal or the reduction 
of his salary. All other officials save one are appointed for one 


6o Murray: Local (^vernmknt in Maritime Provincu 

year. The council af^inti three revisers to revise the electoral 

The proviftioiiA of the Towns Incnrporntion .\ct of New 
Driinwwick diflfer hut Khf^htly from thiwe of \i)v:i Scotia. For 
instnnce. the Act expressly provided that the services of mayor 
and alilcrmen shall I)c lniTH'nry. This is the practice in N'ova 
Scotia, and I Iwlieve everywhere in (he Maritime I'rovinces 
except in St. John, where hnih maynr and aldermen receive 
allowances, and in Halifax, where the mayor n-cnvcs $ 
n year. The .Act further rctpiires the election of the aldermen 
hy the entire town and not i>y wards, each elector havinff the 
rifiht to vote for two aldermen in each ward. This practice has 
recently Iwcn adopteel in th*- cities (»f St. John and I'rcdcricton. 
The innovation has not proved to Iw the success liojwd for, and 
many hold that the ward system jjave as (jood or hettcr results. 

In New Brunswick the town coimcillurs hold otV'ce fnr one 
year and consctiitently all retire simultaneously. In Nova Scotia 
the practice of administrative lK)dies, such as directorates, has 
been followe<l and only one-half (in Halifax city one-third) of 
the council retires each year. 

The financial relation of the town to the municipality within 
which it is situated has always been a source of trouble. The 
relative amounts of the contributions of town an<l municipality 
towards the support of courts, court house and jail, and in some 
cases the support of the poor and in nearly every case the county 
school fund, have always been difficult to adjust. This is explained 
partly by the shifting of iiopnlation from the country to the 
town an<I partly by the tendency in the towns to assess 
property up to its current market value in order to keep 
the rate low. Two plans of adjustment have Iwen followed. 
The arbitration plan is favoured in Nova Scotia. A joint board 
of arbitrators appointed by town and municipality agrees upon 
the proportion of the expense which is to be borne by each. In 
New Brunswick the city and county of St. John form one 
municipality and the city alone is another. This plan was sug- 
gested by New York and was adopted from the first. The 
Towns Incorporation Act has applied the same principle to 
other municipalities. In St. John the mayor and fifteen alder- 
men selected hy the city council, with eleven councillors chosen 

Mumay: Local («vmnm«nt in Maditime Piovincei 6i 

by the parishes, conititult the county council. F.lMwhere 
in New llrun«wiclc the town is givoi reiire«entation in 
the coiitity couiKil to the extent of three or (our coun- 
cillors. Two of these are electeil liy the parish within whicli the 
tfHvn stands, in some case^ by the ralejiayers outside the town 
limits, in oiliers ap|iarenily without such rcstricli'^ : ami one 
or two, as the case may lie. arc selccteil by the town .ouncil. 

The .Vcw llriniswick .\ct tivcs any i .wn the ri^ht to espro- 
priatc the pro|vrly of the lijihtinj; or water anil sewerage com- 
panies if a niajcirity vi>le of the ratepayers is recorileil ill Its 
favour. While municipal ownership of the water supply is 
practically universal ami has proveil an nnipialifieil success in 
the cities an<l towns of the Maritime Provinces, only about 
twelve, and these are not the larger cities or towns, have under- 
taken the I'^'htiiiK of the towns. In every case the liKliliuK plant 
is for electric liRhtitiK. not i;as. In I'reilericton the town does 
the municipal li|>htini;. .\n examination is now lieinR made 
of the water powers of Nova Scotia available for the de\elo|v 
ment of electric eiierRy. Thus far no city or town owns or 
operates a street railway. In Halifax the ojieratinft company 
(fives a certain perceutage (four [ler cent.) of the gross receipts 
to the city and pays taxes on its real and personal property. 
Three or four companies o|jerate an intertown service, for 
example, between St. Stephen. Milltown and Calais; Syilney, 
(dace Hay and adjacent towns; .North Sydney and Sy Iney 
Mines; New (ilasgow and surroundinu towns. In Yarmouth 
and Moncton street railways have been operated anil abandoned. 

Local Problems 

Revision of electoral lists, liquor license control and assess- 
ment are responsible for most of the local municipal conflicts. 
As the burdens of taxation increase, the inequalities of the sys- 
tems become more falling, and the demand for reform more in- 
sistent. The control of the sale of liquor has divided the com- 
munity into two factions, while the revision of the electoral lists 
opens and keeps open the door to party politics and determines 
whether a road shall be ditched or a sewer laid according to the 
great principles of rival national policies. 

62 MuRKAY: Local Government in Maritime Provinces 

Electoral Revisers, — Accordingly the revision of the electoral 
lists is jealously watched. The provincial lists are now used for 
federal elections, and are prepared by local authorities. The 
introduction of federal politics into municipal affairs is due 
partly to this, partly to the j-atronage placed in the hands of the 
councillors by the road grants, and partly to the tendency of 
co-workers in the federal ar.d provincial contests to assist each 
other in municipal contests. 

In Nova Scotia the three electoral revisers are appointe<l like 
other municipal (officials. They are usually selected from the 
councillors for the districts concerned. The revisal section in 
rural municipalities consists of not less than two or more than 
five polling districts, as the council may determine, each polling 
district being usually represented by one councillor. Each town 
constitutes a single revisal section. The city of Halifax has a 
registrar of voters, who is appointed by the council, but 
cannot be removed except for cause. 

In New Brunswick the revisal section is the parish. In 1854 
the law directed that the revisers be appointed or elected like 
other parish officers. In 1877 the connty councillors of each 
parish were to be the revisers. If they were but two in num- 
ber, the council selected another; if more thr.n three, the council 
selected three. In cities and towns the councils elected the 
revisers. In 1899 the provincial Government secured the right 
to appoint the chairman, the other two being councillors. 

Sale of Intoxicating Liquors. — The sale of intoxicating licjuors 
is prohibited or regulated by municipal ratepayers in accordance 
with either the Canada Temperance Act, usually called the 
" Scott Act," or a provincial prohibitory law (in Prince Edward 
Island) or a provincial license law. Compared with the federal 
Act the provincial prohibitory Act of Prince Edward 
Island is more stringent. It forbids the sale except 
for specified purpose and then through a regularly 
appointed agent. It gives greater powers with regard to search- 
ing, and it provides that any one arrested for drunkenness may 
be required under oath to state where he received the liquor. In 
Nova Scotia six counties and Ihdifax have adopted the provin- 
cial license law, the remainder the Dominion prohibitory law. 
In New Brunswick the provincial license law is in force in the 


Murray: Local Government in Maritime Provinces 63 

five northern or French counties ard in the city of St. John, and 
the Dominion prohibitory law in Me remainder. 

The enforcement of t!ie law. ! .-c^-^e or prohibitory, is placed 
in the hands of an inspect' oi- ii.i^pi-ctoi o appointed in Nova 
Scotia by the municipality. The appo-ntnin.t of an inspector 
or inspectors must be confi, '.et or \'eto,;d jy the Govemor-in- 
Council. In New Brunswic- !::^ license inspector is appointed 
by the Governor-in-Council, tne " Scott . iCt " inspector by the 
municipal council. In Prince Edward Island the police in towns 
are also inspectors under the law. Their vigilance varies, how- 
ever, with the complexion of the council as reflected in the com- 
mission or committee controlling them. 

The number of licenses granted is restricted in the following 
ways. In New Brunswick a distinction is drawn between coun- 
ties or rural municipalities, incorporated towns and cities. In 
counties one license is permitted for each full 400 of the first 
1,200 population and one for each thereafter; in towns 
one license is permitted for each full 250 of the first 1,000, and 
one for each 500 thereafter; in the city of St. John the num- 
ber is limited to 75 shop or tavern licenses and 7 hotel licenses. 
Since 1877 any parish in a county or any ward in a city has the 
right of vetoing the granting of licenses within its bounds hy 
recording a majority vote of its ratepayers against it. In 
Nova Scotia the number is not limited by law, except 
in Halifax, but the town or the polling district in the 
county or in the city of Halifax must first express its 
willingness for the granting of a license by a petition signed 
by a certain proportion of the ratepayers. In the county 
or the incorporated town the proportion is two-thirds in favour. 
In Halifax three-fifths of the ratepayers of polling districts are 
required for a retail license, a majority for a wholesale. The 
licenses are granted in Nova Scotia by the council, town or 
county; in New Brunswick by three commissioners appointed 
by the Governor-in-Council. Each commissioner holds office 
for three years, one retiring each year. In each province strin- 
gent conditions must be complied with before a license can be 
granted, and in New Brunswick a commissioner may be subject 
to a heavy fine for the illegal granting of a license. 

The license fees and fines in Nova Scotia go into the munici- 

64 Murray : Local Government in Maritime Provinces 

pal treasury. In New Brunswick the spoil is divided with the 
provincial treasury.' 

^«wm«,/,— General Acts govern the assessment in counties 
and towns in each of the three provinces and special Acts the 
assessment in cities. The provincial Act of Nova Scotia declares 
all real and personal property and income (subject to certain 
exemptions) liable for taxation. The assessment law of Hali- 
fax omits income. A fixed poll tax of 60 cents in the country 
¥2.00 m towns or $5.00 in Halifax is also exacted. Exemp- 
tions are numerous and important. Among others may be men- 
tioned the property of widows to the value of $400, imple- 
ments or tools of farmers, mechanics or fishermen to the value 
of $200, the produce of the farm and of the sea; income up to 
S400 111 the country and $600 in the towns. .Ships are rated at 
half value. Funds in provincial debentures, the income from or municipal debentures, the property of railways 
and other property by special Act, are exempt. 

The New Brunswick provincial Act rec|uires one-sixth of the 
tax to be raised by a poll tax and the remainder to be levied 
equally on real and personal property and income, l-redericton 
until 1907 enjoyed the distinction of retaining a provision 
whereby income is rated at full value and real and personal 
property at one-fifth. The exemptions granted are similar to 
those of Nova Scotia. Corporations are a.-.sscd on their paid- 
up capital less their real estate. 

In Prince Edward Island the confusion of provincial and 
local obligations has produced a distinct type of assessment. 
1 he absence of mines, forests and important industries leaves 
that pastoral island witho ut the great sources of revenue of the 

'Some of the Jifl.Tenccs lieiween lh« lic>.-ii« laws of New Urunswitk and Nov» 

IwofiftK l^.h, jr'""''^':!;"'''"'.*'"' "" ""P'i"" """ in H.lif« no. more ih.n 
two-fiflh. might be expended on ihe police. In bolh provinces the iuslices of ih, 
p»ce.„ gener.! (not special) „„i„n, gr.nt.d the licen.^, in e" ll d.v, I„ ,87, 

r.tep.,e„ of the ,»1lmB dl.lnct, .nd t e ccncurence of two-thirds of ihe /raiid iurv 

oraot'commS",'." "" "'"»•""• '"" '" '*^ t"""* "" ''"""e - ch.,^ 

Murray: Local Government in Maritime Provinces 65 

sister provinces. The heavy burden of tlie schools is princi- 
pally borne by the |>rovinciaI treasury and not by the district 
assessment. The principal sources of revenue are the Dominion 
subsidy, the land, income and road taxes, license fees and 
succession duties. 

The land tax was introduced in 1894. At first it was levied 
at from one to six cents per acre according to value, but in 1807 
this was changed to a percentage tax of one-l^fth of one per 
cent, or twenty cents on every $100. The value of the land 
includes the value of buildings, but after the first year improve- 
ments a- • not assessed. A rate of one and a half per cent, is 
levied iii,on income, but income due to manual laljour not 
exceeding $300. is exempt. The road tax is simple. A pol. 
tax of $1.00 IS levied on men ' 'tween 21 and 60, and twenty- 
five cents for each horse over tnree years of age. 

In the cities and towns generally there is much dissatisfac- 
tion over the system of taxation. Fredericton vigorously 
protested against the heavy burden placed upon income. St 
John and Halifax complain of the hardships suffered by mer- 
chants and manufacturers who carry large stocks of goods 
Partial relief was given in Halifax by placing merchandise at 
three-fourths value and by exempting by special legislation cer- 
tain industries. Wharf property and shipping were granted 
similar relief. In St. John »he hfavy burdens which that ambi- 
tious city has incurred , .fforts to equip the harbour with 
ample docks and facili. a large traffic have aggravated 

the unequal pressure of 1 ,,,.em: and an assessment commis- 
sion has just reported in favour of a change to a tax on rentals 
very much as in Ontario. Another commission is sitting in 
Fredericton. Halifax has had its full share of committees and 
commissions, yet more are demanded. Fredericton's prepos- 
terous income tax was neutralizing the great advantage of cen- 
tral position and natural beauty and was driving many awav 
And m both St. John and Halifax municipal taxation is unduiv 
checking manufacturing and trading enterprise.' 

' A glancr at Iht drvclopmenl of .s,<.s,mciil la«s is iiMtiiccive In N»w R.i.r.. 


66 Murray: Local Government in Maritime Provinces 


The road problem is not yet solved. In Nova Scotia railway 
mileage per head of population and per acre of the province is 

of ihe aisessora " wiihoui regulation or apjw «! cro«iu«d gt^at dia^imiltriiy in ihe mode 
of apponioniny the jalrs throughout the novincc' Acc«rilii;gly in 1822 an Act was 
passed (lifcciing thai .me-hall of the sum assessed \k levied by a poll tat and the other 
in "ju« and oiiual proportion" up.jn the inhabitants and upon the real ekUle of 
the non-residents according to the discretion of the assessors. In 1831 only one-eighth 
was to Ik- levied by a poll lax ; the remaintler on the " visible " property end income. 
In 1830, income not derived from real and prrsonal properly was to be rai-d five 
times a.> heavily aa re»l and personal propeity. This piovision was adopted by St. 
John m 1869 and by Krcdiricion in 1871. It wai abandoned by the province in 1875, 
by St. John in 1882, but it re nninL'l in l-rtdencion until 1907. In 187s - heavy burden 
was placed on pulls— one sixth of ilie whole. The land tax in I'lince hdward Maml is 
ihesurviv.irof ihe (juii rents. In 1848 an Act was pass d which r.cjuesled Mir Majesty 
to relinquish ihe ijuii rcnis and p r.n-t the provincf lo sulwlituie a land lax for the 
encouragemeni ol .duiaion .m llie L.iii.lilii.n ihai the .jut rents were r< lintjuishcd. 
This was dom-. The tiio-,1 notable fL-ature in the land tax was the di-rfriminaiinn in 
favour of cultivated land. Thi' lax -n »ildernevt land was five shillings for every ine 
hundred acres s on culiiv:Utfl land two f^hillings and sixpence. The earliest nference 
to ;issessmeiil in Nova Scotia occurs in the Act of 1763 relating lo the poor, The 
amount re<iiiired (or the sup ort of the po- r of ihe lownship was to be leiied " in juit 
and equal pr'>[>()rtion. according to eacli person's known estate, eith' r real or Rersonal." 
The poor rate was kept sepa;aie uniii about 1856. In this year the demand lor a " more 
equal and just system ' ltd loa be ler dcfinilion of persi^naliy, a system of exemptions, 
and a poll tax. Of the total avsc'.sment one-i-ighih was to be raised by poll lax ; in 1859 
the ratio was one-lourth ; in 1S64 the poll tax could nol exceed 30 cents f t por)r rate or 
30 cents for the other purp ses. To-d.iy il is 60 cents tor counties and $2 for towns. 
Krom 1873 to 1900 the locil aiitboriiies wi;rc permitted to abolish the poll lax. The 
definition ot personal pro eriy in the Aei ol 1856 included pergonal chaitch, siockin- 
trade, m.neys and ships (to on--half value). In 1888. the year of ihe Towns Incorpora- 
tion Act, income Ixcamc as& stable, and banks and insurance com|atii« were rated at 
$100 for every $20 net income or piofits, provided thai the rax were at least $150. The 
exemptions of 1856 incluied public properly, property used for rtlii;ious, educational 
and rharitable jurpose.. provincial debentures, 1 ropertiis of widows o( less than ^(^loo. 
To these were add-d ihe produce ot the farm (1884), of fishing (1900), 140001 income 
in count es and *6fiO in t-wns (|888). The city of Halifax has h,.d a most varied 
experience wiih the personal property la-. Ii is mentioned in 1841, but two years later 
il disapoears and ihe assessors were direcicti to assess in "the most iust and equal 
manner they can devise" by an equal £1 rate on real estate, regard being had to the 
rental v.\bie, and turlher. "according to the ability or capacity of every respective 
inhftbiunt to pay ar.d conuibutc." Banks, insurance and joint stock companies were 
assessed according to profits, declared in 1844 noi to be regarded as income, and in 
1846 as net income or p ollts. Personally reappears in iSjg and is defined as furniture, 
moneys, merchandise, -hipB, debts (including mortgages), securities and stocks. Every- 
thing is included. Joint slock companies are assessed accoiding to net profits or income. 
In 1864 th" tax on companies was changed, life insurance companies being assessed 
upon premiums, less expenses and debt claims paid : benefit buildin" societies on 
deposits, like mortgages; joint slocks, /loo for vacU 16 of income. The tax on 
mortgages was aboli«.hcd in 1S66. In 18S0 the bank tax was changed to ^ P*' cent, 
of the paid up capital, less the vali-" of the real estate, which was assess d in the ui^ual 
way in addition. In 1906 the special 'ax on banks was changed toa fee o' and 
1*1 of I per cent. , based upon tnc volume of bus ness. Money on deposit receipt was 
exempted from taxation in 1883. The principle of a special fee in addition to the usual 
lax on real estate was adopted in 1883 for insurance companies. This was extended to 
tel^raph, telephone, cable companies and agencies. The early provision limited the 
•pedal fee to i per cent, of the capital. .^ ^ew years before, in 1876, fire insurance 

Muwiay: Local Government in Maritiue Pkovikces 67 

high; but there are no navigable rivers of any length to keep 
down the rates by competition. Some compensation is found 
as also m Prince Edward Island, in the deep indentations of 
the coast line, which bring the most remote spot in Nova Scotia 
within sixty miles of the sea, and in Prince Edward Island bring 
almost every locality within sound of the roar of the waves. 
New Brunswick has a fairly unbroken coast line, but is blessed 
with three magnificent rivers, besides a number of smaller 
streams navigable for some distance. 

In 1904 New Brunswick exchanged the wasteful system of 
statute labour for the less popular road tax. The tax 
is lower than the statute labour at the old value of 50 
cents for a day's work; but it is a money tax and 
many of the poorer people find it easier to give three days' work 
to the roads than $1.00. The tax is collected like other parish 
rates. The county treasurer credits each parish and each divi- 
sion with its returns, anH places these at the disposal of the pro- 
vincial commissioner of works. Local interests are protected 
by the provision requiring the money collected within a parish 
to be expended within that parish. The control of the expendi- 
ture by the provincial authorities is here an important 
innovation. In a sense the Highways Act of 1904 was fore- 
shadowed as early as 1816, when the Assembly laid out certain 
Great Roads and made their up-keep principally a provincial 
charge. The Governor-in-Council appointed supervisors with 
powers similar to those of the superintendents of 1904. The 
funds, however, were derived principally from provincial grants. 

In addition to these main arteries of traffic there were By- 
Ro="ls supported largely by statute labour. These were under the 
control of the local authorities, the sessions at first, later the 
councils. From 170 6 to 1835 the statute labour was practically a 

^!S^'"'"""^"i.''^!°"^'' *"""''•""'•'■ '" ■9<*««k broken w«< 
•neoMW l« percent, oi the value of uie ml cslue occupied by them. In iSgi the 

St'tS "tSTk'' T T, '*^'' °" "*"'' "^ C™""?. but it must reech . minimum 
?„„„??■ 1 • o S?"™ "P^" merchandise wu lessened by isiessing .t three- 
fourths value m 1895. Ship, were assessed at one-fourth value in the »me year. 
fJITK', W "'".?»""l»n'"inB industries for ten veats were provided for in 1906. 
from 1S49 to 1883 the real estate taa was levied on the oecopantrand the value of *e 

. fr'. 5 °","^" '*"'"• '"'■'•■ ^' poll >" »" nominally «3, but pracSr 
uncoltected until it w«, repealed dio-tly before 1S91. In 1906 i! ™ apun^T^uked 


6g Murray: Local Government in Maritim* Vh«)hhc» 

jxril-tfjc.i.rifh and poor contributing alike. SUMt«. labour :was 
.fWlpVlsprjfy in the city of St. John until 1835 wd ioifr(!*aMlon 
iMHtiJl.jSjfti Tlie first suspicion of a tax app«pftj-in (he:«ssfss- 
jneot (rfone per cent, per acre of wilderness lailijs. TUhtf vuas in 
JJ)ei,Aflt,,Q£, 18O1. Later the tax was rcduced.ndn- tScj^ coiMity 
.councils were given authority to substitute a raad tax-lor statute 
Jabour, .bittino action was taken. 1 ,:i jni-mil ; 

. ..There are three Acts relating to roads in forca iii.JMovaiSootia. 
The Highway Act is the oldest. It places the tKpeiiUjnure «f ithe 

■ liroviiwial grants and the enforcement of the statute ,laiboi»r ira the 
bande of the county councils. The councils in t«ra leave:ithese 
niatters: to the councillors interested. The couiictHor irecom- 
.mendsB. super >isor for the district and he expends ithe money as 
diiectad by. the rounc'l. The Road .Act of i899(now,tn .force 
in fouc-for five municipalities, differs from the, .Highway Art in 
combaning ..f rom two to six polling districts iatp ob* road dis- 
trict,- in placing it in charge of a road board .cwiiposed of the 
f.55*ncillpr9 1) concerned. It, however, leaves., ..wntouchddi. the 
Ttiosti .serious defect of the entire systeir«— proynion. for 
skilled v indruction and oversight. The centmliEedi. system 
»dH -permit the carrying out under permanent 1. officials 
tjf plans . .embracing large sections of n.courttry. h For 

■ obVnousi'Teosons, however, it would seem adi'isaWe tw junite 
fUCal 'isuliOTvision and central direction. Th0ugh.|.tifipopular, 
■dit'rcttd'.'ta»is an improvement on statute labour and with^ few 
tthangcft'tnight overcome a number of the objectionstnQw-.raised. 
ilThsrHalifax Road Act of 1898 is also a distinct.>stepi(focward. 
'ItlconHnules the statute labour into a road ta* ikiut unlike the 
riNew ■'Brunswick Act permits any ratepayer t©.\pa)^-hie .-tax in 
rjibourroniithe roads at one dollar a day. Qnjs- . supervisor is 
(Bppointtfli by the councillor for each electoral f4t^ct,i . Road- 
■masterS' are appointed for the road sections. Supervisors have 
■dis6rtti4l)nar3l powers in expending the government orcounty 
trosd'ffrant -apportioned to their districts. They isre p;wl by the 
booncit stf>d 'their accounts must be countersigticd' by 'the coun- 
«aior of Jh«idistrict. In case of a dispute the wsrdeni»iida com- 
'tnifctee-shalt Investigate and have full power to.[}a^9ijBnaHy upon 
■'.fhe'-mfetter.'^The council may appoint one or- DioBe oompetent 

inspectors of roads for the whole county. 

Murray: Local Govbrnment in Maritime Provinces 69 

The support of education ranks second to no interest either 
in importance or cost. About 011c third of the provincial 
revenues of each province is tints s|)ent. This represents in 
Nova Scotia and New Brunswick less than a third of the cost 
of puhlic schools, the ba'.nice heiiijj met hy the locality (section, 
district or town). The province controls the training and 
licensinp; of the teacher and contributes to his salary. 

In li;04 the perctntlges of the contributions were as follows:' 

I5y Province. Hy District. 

Nova .Scotia 27.30 72.70 

New Brunswick 39.09 70,91 

Prince Edward Island 72.11 27.89 

Manitoba 9.89 90.13 

British Columbia 75.83 24.17 

The supplement paid hy the district in Prince Edward Island 
appears to have l)een originally an e<iuivalent for the board of 
the teacher. Its inauguration marks the disappearance of the 
old practice of " boarding around." 

In Nova Scotia and New Brunswick there is a third source of 
support — the municipal or county fund. The rich sections are 
required to assist the weak, as the rich man pays for the school- 
ing of the poor man's children. This fund is distributed among 
the schools in such a way as to encourage open schools and 
regular attendance. Each ratepayer in the county contributes, 
but only those districts with open schools receive, and the 
amounts are propor'ioned to average attendance. The educa- 
tion of the blind and deaf is borne, one-half by the county school 
fund, one-half by the province. 

The similarity between the systems of Nova Scotia and New 
Brunswick is due to Theodore H. Rand, afterwards head of 
McMaster University, who was intrusted by Sir Charles Tupper 
with the organization of the public school system in Nova Scotia 
in 1864, and who was afterwards called to New Brunswick in 
1871 to perform a similar service. 

The first public Act on behalf of education in the province of 

1 Statistical Year Book of Canada, 1904. 


70 Murray: Local Governhent in Maritime Provinces 

Nfw Brunswick was passed in 1800, when the College of New 
Brunswick (a secondary school in disguise) was established and 
granted support. Five years later (1805) the Legislature made 
similar provisions (under another name) fnr St. John; and 
established tht first parish schools — two being provided for each 
county and placed under the management of the justices of the 
sessions. Royal instructions to the first Governor directed that 
no one be employed as te:ichcr unless he held a license from the 
Bishop of London or the (iovemor of the province. The year 
1816 witnessed an enlargement of the plan of 1805 with a very 
important addition. Aid was to be granted to parish schools 
conditionally upon the inhabitants subscribing a proportionate 
amount. Further, authority was given to assess, should the 
inhabitants so decide; and trustees for the parish were to be 
appointed. The germ of the school district appears in the 
exemption from compulsory assessment granted to any one 
living more than three miles from the school. In 1829 
the College was reorganized and f :rther provision made 
for grammar schools; but higher education languished. The 
parish schools, however, multiplied and increased in usefulness. 
In 1833 the trustees were directed to divide the parishes into 
school districts: increased grants were made and hampering 
restrictions withdrawn; and two female schools (i.e., schools 
taught by women) were authorized for each parish. The tasks 
of examining and licensing teachers and of inspecting and super- 
vising the schools became too great for the Governor-in- 
Council. In 1837 these matters were entrusted to boards of 
education appointed for each county. Ten years later these 
boards were superseded by a provincial board which was 
specially enjoined to make provision for the training of teachers 
and to select text-books. In 1852 a Superintendent of Educa- 
tion for the province was appointed. 

The provincial allowances were at first unconditional grants, 
then (1816) conditional upon the locality's subscription. This 
was repeated in 1823, and in 1833 the grants were limited to 
the number of schools in the parish. In 1847 the allowance was 
granted according to the grade of license of the teacher, and in 
1852 according to the sex of the teacher. A bonus of 25 per 
jcent. (1852) or 10 per cent. (1858) was granted to districts 

MuMiAV: Local Govexnmint in Maiitihe Pkovinces 71 

adopting the asseMment in plac* of the sub«riptlon principle. 
The next radical move was made in 1871 when compuljorjr 
assessment was introduced and the schools became free through- 
out the province, ^bout 1879 an attempt was made to secure 
greater efficiency by conditioning the provincial grants upon 
the inspector's reports. This system of payment by results 
proved so unpopular that it led to the resignation of the Super- 
intendent and its abolition. Another experiment is now being 
made. Its object is to meet 'he f vi's, arising from the depopula- 
tion of the rural districts, by a system of consolidation which 
was initiated through the liberality of Sir William Macdonald, 
of Montreal. 

The district school tax is levied by the district according to 
the county valuation and is collected by the district. The pro- 
vincial grant varies with the grade of license and the character 
of the school. A teacher in a poor district receives a larger 
allowance, as does the teacher of a secondary school (called 
Academy in Nova Scotia and Grammar School in New Bruns- 
wick). The same is true of the teacher in a superior school in 
New Brunswick, or High School in Nova Scotia. The superior 
school is a hybrid — half common and half grammar school — or, 
better, a first-class common school with a tincture of Latin. It 
is intended to serve the parish in a manner not unlike that in 
which the Grammar School serves the county. Special grants 
are also made to manual training and domestic science schools. 
The New Brunswick system is spared the district school com- 
missioners of Nova Scotia whose present powers are now exer- 
cised chiefly in subdividing already minute school sections to 
satisfy quarrelsome local factions. 

The Poor 

The care of the poor has from the first been an important duty 
of the township or parish. The earliest legislative and adminis- 
trative acts in the provinces kept the poor in view. In Nova 
Scotia the township (or "settlement") meeting appointed 
officers and authorized assessment and for a time disposed of 
the poor for the coming year. The first Legislature of New 
Brunswick in 1786 remembered the poor. Except in a few 

72 Murray: Local Governmrnt in Maritime Provincrs 

imtancM the burden hat been purely local,' The care qt the 
poor wai a religious as well as a civic duty; and this is recog- 
nued to this day in Prince Edward Island, where, for example, 
in Charlottetown and prolably elsewhere, a certain portion o£ 
the poor grant is given to the different churches to be expended 
by them. 

In earlier times poor relief was given sometimes to parents 
for looking after a lunatic or crippled child or relative (e g. 
in Prince Edward Island in 1819), or to some person in the 
community who agreed to look after the unfortunate, siLject 
of course, to the approval of the overseers. Poor children were 
apprenticed— a practice open to great abuses. The auction or 
tender system was gradually supplanted by the almshouse; but 
It IS still found in the parsimonious parishes and districts of New 
Brunsw., It has been forbidden by statute in Nova Scotia 
since 1900. St. John built the first almshouse in New Bruns- 
wick prior to l8io, and the Governor and Council built one in 
Halifax shortly after that city was founded. In New Bruns- 
wick, St. Andrew's followed St. John in 1824. WcMstock in 
i860, and Northumberland in .'67; while in 1897 a general 
Act gave a parish or group o lurishes poww to erect alma- 
houses. These almshouses are primarily parochial, not county 
institutions. A number of parishes usually combine, but they 
and not the county are responsible." This has led in New 
Brunswick to great variety in the appointment of the commis- 
sioners of the almshouses. In some places they are appointed 
by the Govemor-in-Council, in others they are elected; in others 
appointed by the sessions or council (city or county) ; in others 
two or more methods are combined. The commissioners report 
to the municipality. 

The poor insane were once a provincial but are now a local 
charge in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Each parish or 

AnH™'??,* ?","•?''=''. *" «««n>ple ihe province lude |;r>nu to St. John and St 
t^Z,^"^' tmrnmnls one o, two „iuoi.. d>er he.!^ i«n.igr.tio,i G.«l, of 

1?°;!?'™ '•"■ '» St. John .nfftien In 17,0 the province or Jiorn Scoti. t,-e 
wp'^^of"*!^, "'■'"" '''"•°"»' l»<" •»'' 1 '"P"" "" l"i«iln iJoSf- 

'^ ••■'? •? .'.799 the resnliiioni adopted for the poor hoou -n Hilifu wan 
Mthorimi for Kmil«liou«.wVre erected in other countiiT 



Muuay: Local Govunuint in Maiitiue Pkovincu 


township muit bear it- own burden o( the poor. Charity begins 
and ends at home. There is not a little ungenerous rivalry in 
aiding the poor to go to other localities; but the law of settle- 
ment is strict and well defined. A year's residence is now 
required in New Brunswick, and in Nova Scotia it has been 
obligatory since 177a Since 1837 the French of Dortnester, 
Shediac and Moncton have cared for their own poor; and in 
lyoi they received authority to erect an almshouse. 

In Prince Edward Island the poor relief is distributed by the 
members of the Legislature either directly or through nominees. 
The amounts are individually small and the number requiring 
aid is not large. 

Within recent years local hospitals have been erected in a 
number of towns, supported in part by fees and gifts, in part 
by local assessments and provincial grants. 

On account of the absence of provincial tabulations, and of 
the inadequacy of local reports, it is not possible to give a statis- 
tical review of local finance.